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San Antonio Beer Week Turns 5


San Antonio Beer Week is celebrating its fifth anniversary with plenty of liquid excitement on tap.

Yard-House-BeersThe week-long schedule is packed with events in all areas of the region, culminating in a large walk-around party at the Pearl Brewery.

There are too many events to list here, but here are three highlights and a link to the full schedule.

7 p.m. Wednesday — Join the brewers from Ranger Creek and The Granary while enjoying a four-course menu prepared by The Granary’s Tim Rattray. Each course will be paired with Ranger Creek beers including their newest release: Red Headed Stranger. Dinner will be served on the patio at The Granary, 602 Avenue A, so you can enjoy the spring weather while chatting with brewers. Each diner will receive a beer glass to take home. Reservations are required and can be made at www.thegranarysa.com. Cost: $60.

6 t0 9 p.m. Friday — 5 Stones Artisan Brewing, 850 Schneider, Cibolo, is hosting a beer garden. For your $10 reservation, you get a sample glass and five drink tickets. There will be 10-12 beers to choose from plus a special cask of Fracking Blackstrap. A food truck will be on site as well. Call (210) 380-8215.

3 to 7 p.m. Sunday — This year’s closing ceremonies will be at the Pearl Brewery,  312 Pearl Parkway, with breweries from around the area tapping into their best. The admission price will get you six 4-ounce sample tickets, plus a commemorative SABW 2015 tasting cup. A limited number of VIP tickets will also be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. VIP attendees will be hosted at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery and receive a special VIP commemorative tasting glass. You will get early access to the festival at 2 p.m. and have special beers tapped, plus VIP snacks provided by Southerleigh. VIPs will also have access to Southerleigh’s restrooms and be able to attend an educational panel discussion about craft beer that features brewers and owners from your local breweries. Presale tickets are $30 and will increase to $35 at the door. Register at eventbrite.

For the full list of events, click here.

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Plenty of Fun on Tap for San Antonio Beer Week


San Antonio Beer Week is underway with plenty of activities every day of the week and on every side of town.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Monday, Ranger Creek will have special hours with a special cask of their version of the 2014 Beer Week collaboration brew and more. On Tuesday, the Friendly Spot will have a tap takeover of harder-to-find kegs. On Wednesday, Branchline will be at Hangar Tavern for a tasting of both its Evil Owl Amber and Shady Oak Blonde.

With the temperatures rising, all you need to know is that it’s cold, wet and welcome, no matter what style off beer you prefer.

For a full list of what’s happening, click here.

Drive responsibly.

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Beer Notes: Freetail Gears Up for Distribution


Freetail Brewing Co. is now able to sell its beer for wholesale distribution for the first time, thanks to recent changes to the state’s alcoholic beverage code. To that end, the brewpub has partnered with the nation’s second largest beer distributor, Silver Eagle Distributors, which has operations in Houston, San Antonio and surrounding areas. Silver Eagle will be the exclusive wholesaler of Freetail products for a roll-out that will initially include the San Antonio metro area and surrounding counties.

freetail “This is a historic moment for our company,” said Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “We are honored to not only be partnering with one of the country’s premier distributors, but also with an organization that stood beside us in the fight to loosen restrictions on small craft breweries in Texas.”

What made this possible is that, during the 2013 regular session of the Texas Legislature, SB 515 was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill made it legal for brewpubs like Freetail to sell their beer to wholesalers, who in turn can sell to retail license holders, such as grocery stores, restaurants, bars and package stores. Such sales had been previously outlawed.

“Freetail Brewing Co. has been a favorite of San Antonians since opening its doors in 2008,” says John Nau, president and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors. “All of us at Silver Eagle are very excited to partner with a business like Freetail that has such a passion for both beer and the local community. We look forward to expanding the brewery’s reach outside of its brewpub so that local residents can also enjoy Freetail in the comfort of their own home or favorite bar.”

In order to meet the market demand for Freetail beer, the company is constructing a 30,000-square-foot brewery at 2000 S. Presa St. When complete, the facility will have an initial capacity of 6,000 barrels a year and is expandable up to 60,000 barrels a year. The company has stated its goal is to be “San Antonio’s beer” and to first expand its presence at home.

“A lot of breweries start out and expand to as many markets as possible. We want to do the opposite by focusing on our hometown and become the first thing people think of when it comes to craft beer in San Antonio,” Metzger said.

Though the San Antonio market will be the primary focus starting out, the company still has eyes on other markets in the future. “Houston, we hear you,” said Metzger, referencing a failed bid to open a Freetail location in Houston in 2011. “While we may not be opening a physical location there, our partnership with Silver Eagle is especially exciting because it gives us the potential to expand to the Houston market when the time is right.”

The initial roll-out, slated for mid-summer, will include draft and 22-ounce bombers. Cans are projected to be available as early as this fall. The brewery currently has four year-round beers plus a variety of seasonal and limited editions available throughout the year.

Ranger Creek dinner set for April 5

Ranger Creek Beer-1La Cantera Resort Grille, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, is hosting a Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling dinner on April 5. The evening begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m.

Passed pinchos, including pork belly “chicarrones” and smoked venison sausage  paired with Ranger Creek Texas Bourbon will be served before Spring Berry Brined Quail Legs and Brazos Valley Edam Croquette with la Bestia Amiable. Curried Coconut Goat Ragout with sweet pea shoots and the Oatmeal Pale Ale precede Center Cut Coffee-Rubbed Beef Ribs with Speckled Hen Beans and Mesquite Smoked Porter. Dessert is Chocolate and Spring Figs with Chocolate Pâté and Small Batch No. 8.

The price is $45 a person plus tax and tip. For reservations, call 210-558-2439.

Look for Beer Week updates

The San Antonio Beer Week website is now set up for this year’s festival, which is set for May 10-18. The week is beginning with a party at Branchline Brewery from noon to 7 p.m. May 10.

For more updates, click here.

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Tap Into Something Tasty on National Drink Beer Day


National Drink Beer Day is set for Sept. 28. And what better way to celebrate than with a special dinner?

Ranger Creek Beer-1The folks at the Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden in the Pearl Brewery and Ranger Creek are teaming up for a special five-course dinner that evening.

Executive chef Jeff White has crafted the menu to be paired with craft beers from the San Antonio-based brewery’s portfolio. Both White and a beer master from Ranger Creek Brewery will be on hand to discuss each dish and the beer it’s paired with.

The menu includes:

  • Beer Brined Duck Pastrami with double cream stout mustard, pancetta and shredded Brussels sprouts  paired with Oatmeal Pale Ale
  • Pickled Big Eye Tuna with mixed local lettuces, shaved Reggiano and Champagne vinaigrette served with  Lucky Ol’ Sun
  • La Bestia Braised Pork Belly with housemade grain mustard, spaetzle risotto and lump crab hollandaise with  La Bestia Aimable
  • Sweet Bread and Spinach Stuffed Texas Quail with Jerusalem artichoke mousseline, almond milk crème fraiche foam and pickled morels with  Southtown IPA
  • Dark Chocolate and Dried Chile Flourless Cake with chocolate cinnamon ice cream with  Mesquite Smoked Porter

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Sept. 28. The cost of the meal is $60 a person plus tax and tip.

The Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden is at 312 Pearl Parkway. For reservations, call  210-354.4644.

Boiler House chef Jeff White is offering his pork belly as part of his beer dinner menu.

Boiler House chef Jeff White is offering his pork belly as part of his beer dinner menu.

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La Fonda Alamo Heights Raises a Toast to Texas Spirits with Special Cocktails for Christmas


Have a Blue Christmas.

La Fonda Alamo Heights, 6402 N. New Braunfels Ave., is getting into a happy holiday mood by toasting the spirits of Texas. From now through Dec. 23, the bar is offering 12 cocktails of Christmas, each using a Texas-made liquor.

“One of our goals when we purchased the restaurant in March was to upgrade the bar,” says owner Hans White. “A big part of that plan included increasing the number of local vendors we carry. We now boast more than 40 Texas-owned spirits.”

Each of the following cocktails is available as the special of the day, starting with the Peppermint Patty today and carrying on through the Candy Cane on Dec. 23.

  • The Peppermint Patty combines the smoky taste of Waco’s Balcones Rumble Whiskey with the cool taste of crème de menthe and a dash of lemon juice. It is served shaken and strained over ice.
  • A Snowdrift is made with San Antonio’s own Cinco  Vodka, Cointreau, crème de cacao, heavy cream, and garnished with white chocolate flakes.
  • Merry Christmas

    The La Fonda Alamo Heights Premium Margarita features Texas’ own Pura Vida Tequila, Controy and the restaurant’s proprietary margarita mix.

  • The Hot Toddy is made with Garrison Brothers Bourbon from the Texas Hill Country. The bar adds local honey from Bo’s Backyard Honey and fresh lemon juice.
  • Hide the Pickle plays off the traditional German holiday game. This is a dirty martini variation made with Dripping Springs Vodka and fresh pickle juice.
  • The Holiday on Ice features Ranger Creek Bourbon served simply over ice.
  • The Three Kings features a trio of Agave De Cortes Mezcal. It begins with the sweet and salty flavors of the Silver Mezcal, followed by the spicy finish of the Reposado con Gusano, and ending with the smoky vanilla taste of the Añejo.
  • Merry Christmas features Treaty Oaks’ Waterloo Gin with cranberry juice, lemon juice, club soda and a fresh cranberry garnish.
  • The Hot Buttered Rum features Railean Distillery’s American Rum from the Gulf Coast with butter, brown sugar, spices and vanilla.
  • The Blue Christmas is more than a tribute to Elvis. It’s a match of Dulce Vida tequila with a splash of pineapple juice, and blue curaçao.
  • The Candy Cane combines Deep Eddy Vodka with peppermint schnapps, white crème de cacao, grenadine and half-and-half. It’s garnished with, you guessed it, a candy cane.

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Beer Week Bubbles with Plenty of Activity


What's on tap for San Antonio Beer Week?

Editor’s note: Instead of a Beer of the Week, we offer news of San Antonio Beer Week, which begins Saturday.

The second annual San Antonio Beer Week gets under way Saturday with plenty of chances for beer lovers to try some new brews as well as an array of tasty pairings with food.

Brewers from Blue Star, the Faust and Freetail will be serving up an SA IPA in honor of the event.

Saturday is also the date that Luke, 125 E. Houston St., is hosting its monthly beer dinner. All of the beers will be from Texas breweries, including Ranger Creek, Real Ale, Alamo, 512, Independence, Franconia and No Label.

Steven McHugh’s menu includes first of the season heirloom tomatoes, crabmeat, basil and balsamic vinegar will be followed by BBQ Texas quail and smoked tasso spoonbread. Pork belly and fried pickles with summer succotash will be served before blackberry buckle and root “beer” float.

Grab icy brew or two during San Antonio Beer Week.

The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $65 a person. For reservations, call (210) 227-5853 or email jsolomon@chefjohnbesh.com.

Ranger Creek’s Rob Landerman is partnering with Cruzan Catering at Bake, Boil and Brew, 1508 Guadalupe St., for a beer dinner at 7 p.m. May 19. The dinner will benefit Open The Taps, a grassroots, non-profit consumer advocacy group for craft beer enthusiasts.

The courses include La Bestia Aimable with sausage ravioli with basil pesto and Pecorino Romano;  Strawberry Milk Stout with Seared Salmon with Strawberry glaze;  SA IPA with Cranberry Goat Cheese Salad with an IPA-Orange Vinaigrette;  Lucky Ol’ Sun with Jalapeño Citrus Chicken with a pineapple salsa;  OPA with Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin Roulade;  and Mesquite Smoked Porter with Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake.  Extras include Ranger Creek .36 Texas Bourbon and Special .36 Bourbon Gelato from Brindles with Bourbon Truffle.

Cost is  $50. Click here for reservations.

Other Beer Week events include the Independence Brewing Brewluminati seventh anniversary and the tapping of their latest Brouwers Dubbel on May 17 and a Sierra Nevada party on May 18, both at the Friendly Spot Ice House, 943  S. Alamo St.

For more information on San Antonio Beer Week, click here.

 

 

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Cocktail Conference Shakes It Up for a Good Cause


Rob Gourley of San Antonio makes a Philly Smash with rye, lime, Averna, simple syrup, berries and mezcal at the Esquire Tavern.

By the time the last drop of vodka had been poured, the last cube of ice chipped and the last mint garnish bruised, the inaugural San Antonio Cocktail Conference could be classified a success.

Adrian Sarabia of San Antonio uses Ranger Creek White in his White and Red.

The four-day event, which included everything from what could affectionately be dubbed “booze cruises” along the river to Sunday brunch, attracted hundreds. Several of the seminars, on topic ranging from ice to making cocktails at home, sold out, all offering the promise of a great future for the event.

The best news of all was the event, planned as a fundraiser for the San Antonio charity HeartGift, raised enough money to pay for the costs associated with the heart surgeries of two children from countries where the proper treatment is either unavailable or inaccessible. The surgical fees are donated by the doctors, but there are costs associated with flying the children in and taking care for them during their recuperation.

Houston Eaves of Austin makes a 3-Piece Suit with Fernet, Campari and Punt e Mes.

Saturday brought a cocktail competition in which more than 30 contestants had to prepare an original cocktail that was judged on taste, presentation and execution. The grand prize winner was John Lermayer from the Florida Room in Miami, followed by Jake Corney of Bohanan’s, which is where the contest was held, and Charles Shelton of Austin.

Lermayer named his winning cocktail Have a Heart and promised HeartGift executive director Cathy Siegel that he would be donating some of his winnings to the charity.

Saturday evening brought a crowd of cocktail lovers to the Esquire Tavern. Along the longest bar in Texas, mixologists whipped up specialty drinks that featured drinks such as Texas spirits, including Ranger Creek White and Tito’s Vodka as well as absinthe, mezcal, the Italian vermouth Punt e Mes, and digestifs such as Averna and Campari. Spray cans of bitters were also used by several to finish off their cocktails.

Wonderful flavors, all, and a great reason to raise a toast to a successful launch of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

 

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Rather Sweet to Become Sugar and Smoke; Auden’s Kitchen Updates Menu


Sugar and Smoke to open in Fredericksburg

Rebecca Rather

The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather, is planning a new restaurant. Her original place, Rather Sweet, has been closed for renovations and will reopen in January as Sugar and Smoke.

She will be teaming up with award-winning Wagyu brisket and steak chef Nicole Davenport on the venture.  “Our mission at Sugar & Smoke is to create dishes sourcing fresh, locally grown products that represent the best Texas flavors and styles!” the website says.

Nicole Davenport

Breakfast foods will include quiche, French toast and omelets, while lunch will bring a half-smoked chicken, pork-stuffed loin and pecan-smoked brisket.

The dessert list will include  pocket-sized key lime pies, tuxedo cake, Italian cream cake, hot chocolate cake, red velvet cupcakes, Big Haired Lemon Tarts, Garrison Bourbon apple pies and tiramisú.

Sugar & Smoke will also serve all of your favorite Beer and Wines as well as a selection of grab and go lunches including wraps, chicken salad, chips, and drinks.

The bakery/cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday with a Sunday Brunch each week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information visit www.sugarandsmoke.com.

New items at Auden’s Kitchen

In time for fall: Tomato Chipotle Goat Cheese Soup at Auden's Kitchen.

Auden’s Kitchen, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd., has introduced a new menu for the fall and winter seasons.

Tamarind-glazed quail with an Asian sesame slaw, mussels steamed with a local brew and served with fries, garlicky white bean dip with flat bread, and tomato chipotle goat cheese soup are among the small plates on the menu. Large plates include pan-seared salmon with feta polenta cake, Texas antelope and quail, and a seasonal ravioli.

Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with a new bar/patio menu. Snacks start at $4, while house cocktails are $5 and select wines and beers are $4.

For more information call (210) 494-0070 or click here.

Celebrate a new Texas bourbon

.36 Texas Bourbon Whiskey

Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, 4834 Whirlwind Drive, is celebrating the release of .36 Texas Bourbon Whiskey with a launch party from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, just after Thanksgiving.

The event will featuring food from Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., including cochon du lait jambalaya, house-made sausages, Ranger Creek OPA-fried chicken, traditional Southern sides and bourbon pecan pie.

You can meet the distiller and have your bottle signed.

The cost is $60 a person, plus tax and gratuity. To make your prepaid reservation, call 210-227-LUKE or email jsoloman@chefjohnbesh.com.

Dady, Rather part of Pyles’ Celebrity Chef Dinner

Jason Dady

Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills chef Jason Dady and Rebecca Rather are among the six chefs who’ll be part of the lineup for the 12th annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner & Live Wine Auction, which is set for Dec. 4 at Pyles’ flagship restaurant in Dallas.

The event, presented under the auspices of the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, raises money for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship.

Pyles will be cooking as well as Renee Morgan from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, who was the 2011 scholarship winner, David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin and Nick Badovinus of Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill in Dallas. this is the second time Dady has participated in the event.

A Champagne reception kicks off the evening at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Seating is limited and reservations are required. The price is $150 a person (tax and gratuity included). Reservations can be made by calling the Foundation at (512) 327-7555 or by visiting www.winefoodfoundation.org.

According to a press release about the dinner, “The Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship is based upon an “Iron-Chef”-style cook-off each spring. Numerous students apply from across the state, and the top three applicants are selected for the challenge; the students must create a three-course menu utilizing a predetermined list of Texas ingredients.”

County Line class canceled

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., has canceled its November cooking class. The class, which was set for this Friday, was too close to Thanksgiving for so many of the regulars, pitmaster Garrett Stephens said.

We’ll announce the next class as soon as it is scheduled.

 

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